Jayme's Reviews > Dragon Sword and Wind Child

Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara
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Jan 16, 11

bookshelves: 2011, fantasy, mythology, young-adult
Recommended to Jayme by: Kaion Vin
Read from January 10 to 16, 2011, read count: 1

It took me a while to get into this book, but it wasn't the story's fault, I think it was the translation. It felt very cold and didn't draw me into the amazing story that was unfolding right underneath the completely passionless words. But once I got used to that, the story was incredible.

While reading it I kept wondering if it was based on actual Japanese mythology. It had a real pagan, Greek or Celtic kind of saga feel to it, but Japanese instead. The afterword told me this was exactly what Ogiwara was trying to do. She said she's always had a love for the British style fantasy that draws its inspiration from Celtic myths and wanted to do the same but from a Japanese point of view.

I think my favourite thing about this was how different the story was the from usual British fantasy though. Having a new mythology to draw her story from really made this book stand out. The way it all centers around balance and the cyclical nature of life is fascinating. This was the most packed story I've read in a long time. It was really more like three 100 page books in one. I don't know how he put so much story into such a tiny book! I can't wait for book two, which is finally being published in English later this year.
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message 1: by Kaion (last edited Jan 18, 2011 11:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kaion Glad you enjoyed it Jayme! Ogiwara definitely based it on real Japanese (Shinto) mythology. I think I read an interview where she explicitly stated the source, but seemed to have lost it. It appears to be the Kojiko though: http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~wldciv/world...
or relevantly excerpted off wikipedia:
The first gods Kunitokotachi and Amenominakanushi summoned two divine beings into existence, the male Izanagi and the female Izanami, and charged them with creating the first land. The two deities then went to the bridge between heaven and earth and churned the sea below with the spear. When drops of salty water fell from the spear, Onogoroshima ("self-forming island") was created [where they resided]. From their union were born the "great eight islands" of the Japanese chain, six more islands, and many deities. Izanami died giving birth to the child Kagu-Tsuchi (incarnation of fire). So angry was Izanagi at the death of his wife that he killed the newborn child, thereby creating dozens of deities.

Izanagi tried (but failed) to retrieve her from Yomi (the underworld). In the cleansing rite after his return, he begot Amaterasu (the sun goddess) from his left eye, Tsukuyomi (the moon god) from his right eye and Susanoo (tempest or storm god) from his nose.

The story of Izanagi and Izanami has close parallels to the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, but it also has a major difference. When Izanagi looks prematurely at his wife, he beholds her monstrous and hellish state and she is shamed and enraged. She pursues him in order to kill him. She fails to do so, but promises to kill a thousand of his people every day. Izanagi retorts that a thousand and five hundred will be born every day.


I've heard the cold complaint before. It's a little surprising to me, I guess I find the prose more deliberate rather than dispassionate.


Jayme Oh no! Noriko is a girl...I fixed that in my review, now I'm going to go hang my head in shame.


Kaion No shame, I totally make that mistake all the time. It just means you see them first as an artists and secondly under restrictive cultural labels, right? ;)


Jayme I'll go with that!


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